German-run Doi Farang Resort is the pick of places to stay in and around Phrao, with a selection of interesting rooms, including converted rice barns, set in a garden and adjacent to an organic farm supplying their good restaurant.
Well signposted from Phrao, the resort lies in a small village around seven kilometres north of town. You’ll also see signs for the Khoom Kam Kaew Farm, Resort and coffee shop, but it’s all the same operation at the same site. The farm has organically grown fruit, vegetables and herbs, plus a herd of sheep (very exotic in Thailand), and was set up on an adjacent plot to the original and longstanding resort. The farm section also now houses reception, the restaurant and their coffee shop.
Several varieties of accommodation are on offer, including concrete and brick chalets, large or small wooden chalets – actually converted rice barns – or rooms in a wooden, stilted Thai-style house. Chalets are of a fairly standard design but are comfortable and well appointed and all are set in pleasant gardens. Rooms come with air-con, hot showers and fridges and there are double, twin or triple bed options. Felicitations to owner Michael with regard to his converted rice barns, which he painstakingly took to pieces and reconstructed at his resort after scouring the surrounding villages for them. It’s not only preserved traditional, yet unwanted buildings that otherwise would have been left to rot, but has provided some interesting and unusual accommodation for guests.
There are smaller, two-person barns and larger ones suitable for families or four people. The mostly teak barns on stilts are fan-cooled but do come with ensuite bathrooms. They’re certainly somewhat on the rustic side but then you don’t get to stay in a barn everyday! Finally the stilted, mostly teak Lanna House consists of four bedrooms around an open central court. Again it's rustic, but each room comes with its own bathroom and you can either rent the whole house or just a room.
The restaurant is very good, using as much as possible from their own garden -- they serve a selection of Western as well as Thai dishes. Thai dishes are priced from 80 baht for a curry up to 150 baht for a fish dish. A burger with fries was reasonably priced at 100 baht, plus there’s coffees, teas, wine and fresh juices on the menu as well. WiFi is beamed throughout, bicycles cost 60 baht per day and transfers from Phrao bus station can be arranged.
Prices aren’t cheap but a lot of time and money has gone into creating Doi Farang. Prices here include an excellent complimentary breakfast of fruit salad, pancakes and bacon and eggs. Interesting spot!
By Mark Ord
Last updated on 21st September, 2015.